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Manila, Philippines (July 23, 2023)- CARE and its local partners prepare for Severe tropical storm Egay (international name “Doksuri”) as it has further intensified while moving west-northwestward over the Philippine Sea and is forecasted to reach typhoon category within 24 hours and may become a super typhoon on Tuesday.
In its 5 p.m. weather bulletin on July 23 the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) forecasted STS Egay to bring heavy rainfall in Catanduanes, Cagayan, the eastern section of Isabela, Polilio Islands, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, and Albay. The forecasted rainfall is generally higher in elevated or mountainous areas. And under these conditions, flooding and rain-induced landslides are possible, especially in areas that are highly or very highly susceptible to these hazards as identified in hazard maps and in localities that experienced considerable amounts of rainfall for the past several days.
In the next three days, STS Egay may also enhance the Southwest Monsoon, bringing occasional rains and gustiness over several areas in the country.
CARE and its partners, Leyte Center for Development and Tarabang para Bicol (TABI) prepare and are ready to respond to the combined effects of STS Egay and the Southwest monsoon and the needs of vulnerable communities that would be affected in Catanduanes, Eastern Visayas, and Bicol Region respectively.
“We have a field office in Catanduanes and ongoing humanitarian programs with our partners in the areas that would be potentially affected by STS Egay. We are ready to activate assessment and quick response mechanisms in coordination with our partner organizations and local government units on the ground”, said Jerome Lanit, CARE Philippines’ Emergency Coordinator.
CARE has been working in the Philippines since 1949, helping communities prepare for disasters, and providing emergency relief and recovery when disaster strikes. It has responded to major disasters such as typhoons and super typhoons, conflicts, and seismologic and health emergencies with focus on the needs of women and girls.
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Mothers line up to get goto for their family to eat at the San Jose National High School evacuation center in Brgy. San Roque, Malilipot, Albay.
A total of 4,726 evacuees temporarily staying at eight evacuation centers in Camalig and Malilipot, Albay enjoyed the comfort that hot goto or organic rice with meat porridge provides on June 17, 18, 25 and 26.
The Tarabang para sa Bicol (TABI), with support from CARE Philippines, mobilized the members of the Tarabang Youth volunteers (TYVs), Sining Banwa, Disaster Preparedness Committees, barangay officials, private individuals, and some evacuees in preparing, cooking, and distributing the hot meals.
The evacuees who hailed from 6 barangays have been displaced from their communities since the start of the volcano’s magmatic unrest early in June. TABI observed that the affected population struggles to cook for their daily sustenance and survives on canned food. Meals like goto made with organic rice and protein provide nutrition and a break from the usual canned or instant meals they receive.
“Cooking together also helps them, especially, the mothers, ensure that their children will have something delicious and healthy to eat”, shared Arlo Brizuela, TABI’s Office-in-Charge.
In these feeding activities, their group observed how the displaced endured the uncomfortable spaces, tents, and classrooms, especially with the intense heat brought by the hot weather. Water, sanitation, and hygiene facilities are also lacking which brings various concerns on the safety of drinking water, and the possibility of related diseases.
Jocelyn Naga, a member of the Disaster Preparedness Committee in Brgy. Tumpa, Camalig, and an evacuee staying at Taladong Elementary School mentioned that some people are already getting sick, especially the children, due to their current living conditions.
The situation remains uncertain. On July 4, the DOST-PHIVOLCS reiterated that Alert Level 3 (increased tendency towards a hazardous eruption) still currently prevails over Mayon Volcano. It is strongly recommended that the areas inside the 6-kilometer-radius Permanent Danger Zone remain evacuated and that communities within the 7 and 8-kilometer radius be prepared in case the volcanic activity worsens.
Several of the evacuated rely on farming as their source of livelihood. They fear that they will not be able to go back immediately to tilling and providing their families with the necessities to recover because of the losses that their displacement brought about.
CARE Philippines and TABI work together to come up with a more comprehensive humanitarian response to address the immediate needs of the most vulnerable affected population. Food, water, sanitation and hygiene, health, and non-food items such as kitchen and sleeping kits are some of the basic essentials that evacuees aspire to make their living conditions inside the evacuation centers tolerable.
“We plan to source support from our global partners for a humanitarian response that is also geared towards recovery, especially, of those who will have the most difficult time to bounce back and resume their livelihood”, said Jerome Lanit, CARE Philippines Emergency Coordinator.
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CARE Philippines Emergency Coordinator, Jerome Lanit hands over food items to a woman head of a household that was affected by the armed clashes in Ungkaya Pukan town in Basilan. (J. Dulla/CARE Philippines)
Five hundred eighty (580) households that were affected by the series of armed clashes in Brgy. Ulitan, Ungkaya Pukan, Basilan received essential food, non-food items, and shelter kits on February 4 and 5.
Members of these households were forced to leave their homes when combatants of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Philippine military clashed in November last year. When the conflict subsided, they returned only to find that some of their houses, including the mosque, madrasah, and an essential government building, were damaged from the fighting.
CARE and its partner, NISA Ul Haqq fi Bangsamoro (Women for Justice in the Bangsamoro), Inc., with the facilitation of the GPH-MILF Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH) and the Ad Hoc Joint Action Group (AHJAG) and with the support of the BARMM Ministry of Social Services and Development were able to access the community to deliver life-saving assistance to the affected vulnerable households.
Meanwhile, Shalom Tillah Allian of NISA Ul Haqq fi Bangsamoro, Inc. shared that the collaboration with the BARMM MSSD, MILF CCCH and AHJAG showed that humanitarian and peace building efforts work meaningfully when working together on an equal footing.
Photos: Members of the community helped in the repacking and distribution of the relief goods to the affected households. (J. Dulla, S. Allian)
The Basilan Emergency Response is supported by the Tijori Foundation and is being implemented by CARE Philippines and its partner, NISA Ul Haqq fi Bangsamoro, Inc., in collaboration with the BARMM Ministry of Social Services and Development, GPH-MILF Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH) and the Ad Hoc Joint Action Group (AHJAG).
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Community members together with barangay local government officials, Taft Municipal Mayor Gina Alzate-Ty and Vice Mayor Maria Concepcion Adalim-Hilario, Political Counsellor Iain Cox of the British Embassy Manila and representatives of LCDE, CARE Philippines, and ACCORD in a group photo with the BBS model house after conducting an FGD. (Photo: L.Fuentes/CARE Philippines)
by Leigh Ginette Fuentes
In the Philippines, it was identified that hydrometeorological hazards are the most underfunded disaster events that the country faces, based on a study by the UP Resilience Institute. Consequently, in a survey conducted by Start Network among its members, it was identified that the major hazard in the country was tropical cyclones followed thirdly by flooding. The country has seen the onslaught of several strong, destructive typhoons in recent years, including Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) in 2013 and Typhoon Goni (Rolly) in 2020. Due to the effects of climate change, hazards such as these could intensify and become more frequent, posing a threat to local populations, their lives, property, and livelihoods.
Disaster Risk Financing (DRF) is a program of Start Network that allows members to create their own DRF Systems – a structured way to model and plan for risks. The Start Philippines Disaster Risk Finance system is majorly governed and implemented by Start Network members in-country, together with local NGO partners and scientific experts. The locally led consortium acknowledges the needs of local communities and comes up with data-driven actions to mitigate the impact of disasters and prevent the loss of lives and properties.
Last February 5, Political Counsellor Iain Cox and other key representatives of the British Embassy Manila visited Barangay Nato in Taft, Eastern Samar to learn more about Start DRF and the impact the programming implemented by the Eastern Samar DRF consortium, composed of CARE Philippines, the Leyte Center for Development, Inc. (LCDE), and Assistance and Cooperation for Community Resilience and Development, Inc. (ACCORD, Inc.) on community members, particularly of those vulnerable to the adverse effects of typhoons. These also included members of the barangay local government units from Can-Avid, Eastern Samar which is also a programmatic area.
An introduction to the Alternative Temporary Shelter (ATS) System was followed by an orientation on Build Back Safer (BBS) practices through visual aids and a model house, the same used in an orientation earlier that day with community members from Taft and Can-Avid. Community members and implementing organizations then engaged in a focus group discussion to learn more and delve into the experiences of community members in relation to typhoons, the recent continuous flooding, and the gaps they still see in the community’s ability to prepare for and respond to different disasters.
Among the participants was Lita Fe, 42, who is also member of the Women Collective in Barangay Nato, Taft, Eastern Samar. “Because of the skills and learnings from the capacity building sessions, we are now equipped to do pre-emptive evacuations during emergencies,” shared Lita Fe during a focus group discussion with Barangay representatives, members of the Shelter Roving Team, and other members of the Women’s Collective.
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Highlight of the activity is the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to work together towards the successful implementation of the project. From left: Mr. Gerardo F. Cuadrasal, Jr. , Municipal Administrator of Calape, Bohol representing Hon. Mayor Julius Caesar F. Herrera; Hon. Mayor Diosdado Gementiza, Jr. of San Isidro, Bohol; Christopher Matthew Ilagan of Cargill; David Gazashvili of CARE Philippines and Mr. Brendan P. Trasmonte, Regional Manager III for Region VII, Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA)
Manila, Philippines (September 26, 2022) — Nine months since Super Typhoon Odette (Rai) felled over three million coconut trees in the province of Bohol, Cargill Philippines partners with CARE Philippines, Cebu-Bohol Relief and Rehabilitation Center (CRRC), and the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) to replant 100,000 coconut seedlings in devastated local communities through the RISE Coco (Recovery Intervention for Severely Affected Coconut Farming Communities of Bohol by Super Typhoon Odette) project. More than 10 million coconut trees were damaged in several areas nationwide and gravely affected farming families whose livelihood was dependent on producing copra.
farming families whose livelihood was dependent on producing copra.
The Bohol provincial PCA already pledged to initially replace felled trees with 500,000 dwarf variety seedlings in February. This variety takes three to four years to bear fruit compared to the hybrid variety which takes five years to yield. However, with no other means to provide for their families, farmers are already finding it difficult to bounce back while waiting for harvest. The available coconut seedlings were very limited and were allocated to only a few municipalities. To bridge this gap, coconut farmers supported by this project decided to establish their own community-based seed beds to propagate coconut seedlings for re-planting.
Through the RISE Coco Project, 1,000 coconut farming households in the municipalities of Calape, Catigbian, Loon, and San Isidro will be able to gradually recover and sustain their coconut farming livelihoods. The project focuses on replacing the damaged coconut trees, training the farmers on sustainable agriculture, providing alternative livelihoods while waiting for the coconut trees to bear fruit, and organizing the farmers into cooperatives to have better access to markets and corporate buyers.
The project was officially launched on September 15, 2022, at the Calape Forest Resort and was attended by almost 100 participants from the local government offices, PCA officials, Cargill, CARE, CRRC and farmer leaders in the province. As the first coconut disaster rehabilitation program in the province spearheaded by the private sector, the project is strongly supported by the provincial government of Bohol and the municipal mayors of the four covered municipalities. PCA, including its regional and provincial offices, also expressed commitment to provide technical assistance during the project implementation.
PCA Region 7 Manager Brendan Trasmonte acknowledged the critical and challenging role that the PCA will play in the success of the project as it needs quality seed nuts and seedlings and the technical knowledge of coconut farmers to sustain and expand their sources of income beyond coconut farming.
This project partnership is anchored on a global agreement between Cargill and CARE International to work together to implement programs that would rehabilitate livelihoods impacted by disasters, support recovery and promote food security of affected farming communities.
“It’s our way of supporting the rehabilitation of the livelihoods of the coconut farmers of Bohol severely impacted by the climate-induced Supertyphoon Odette – the same coconut farmers who have been our reliable suppliers of copra over the years which we in turn crush at our General Santos City plant into world-class crude coconut oil,” said Cargill Philippines’ Corporate Affairs Director Christopher Matthew Ilagan.
Cargill’s Copra & Palm Origination Commercial Director, Jonathan Sumpaico added, “Cargill is committed to grow with the communities where we live and work. The RISE Coco program, as part of our broader partnership with CARE Philippines, allows us to put that commitment into action by ensuring the farmers affected by the Supertyphoon produce sustainably grown copra and continue to benefit from responsible economic development as our partners.”
Meanwhile, CARE Philippines Country Director David Gazashvili sees the project as a way to develop the resiliency of coconut farming communities against the drastic effects of climate change.
“Farmers will be trained to increase their capacities to better prepare for disasters alongside local government structures. This implies ensuring the availability of food for their family and community and ability to cope and bounce back through other sources of income and immediate government support”, he said.
The RISE Coco project is led by CARE Philippines and is being implemented with CRRC with active participation from Cargill employees across all project areas.
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Cargill helps the world’s food system work for you. We connect farmers with markets, customers with ingredients and families with daily essentials – from the foods they eat to the floors they walk on. Our team around the world innovates with purpose, empowering our partners and communities as we work to nourish the world in a safe, responsible, sustainable way. This includes 2,000 colleagues across 27 locations in the Philippines, where we’ve been working since 1948 to make our global vision a local reality. Visit https://www.cargill.ph/en/home to know more.
From feed that reduces methane emissions to waste-based renewable fuels, the possibilities are boundless. But our values remain the same. We put people first. We reach higher. We do the right thing. It’s how Cargill has met the needs of the people we call neighbors and the planet we call home for 157 years – and how we’ll do so for generations to come. For more information, visit Cargill.com and our News Center.
About CARE Founded in 1945 with the creation of the CARE Package®, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. CARE places special focus on working alongside women and girls. Equipped with the proper resources women and girls have the power to lift whole families and entire communities out of poverty. In 2020, CARE worked in over 100 countries, reaching more than 90 million people through 1,300 projects. To learn more, visit www.care.org.
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South Sudan continues to be one of the deadliest places to be an aid worker, according to analysis done by CARE International on data from the Humanitarian Outcomes Aid Worker Security Database. Forty-four aid workers have lost their lives globally since the beginning of this year, including 11 in South Sudan, 8 in Afghanistan and 7 in Myanmar. Not only are these three countries among the most dangerous places for aid workers, they are also incredibly challenging places for citizens, with nearly 40 million people facing hunger across these countries.
Abel Whande, CARE South Sudan Country Director, said, “South Sudan is facing its worst hunger crisis since it gained independence 11 years ago. That the very people committed to easing suffering and supporting the most vulnerable continue to be killed, is horrifying. Failing to ensure the safety of humanitarians means disruptions to vital aid operations, and with 7.74 million people in South Sudan facing acute hunger, these disruptions could mean the difference between life and death for some. And this year, the knock-on effects of the Ukraine crisis are exacerbating the situation, with sharp increases in the cost of food and fuel causing more pain and suffering.”
The single deadliest day for aid workers in 2022 so far occurred in Afghanistan, when eight polio vaccinators were killed while conducting home visits on 24 February. Polio vaccinators have frequently been targeted in Afghanistan, one of only two countries where wild poliovirus is endemic – the other country being Pakistan.
CARE Afghanistan’s Humanitarian Advocacy Advisor, Mélissa Cornet, said, “It’s devastating that eight aid workers have died in Afghanistan this year. They were doing incredibly important work in a country that is in the midst of a complex humanitarian crisis – nearly 19 million people face acute hunger, the economy has all but collapsed, affected communities are still reeling from last month’s deadly earthquake and the price of food and everyday essentials has skyrocketed over the past year. Women and girls are often disproportionately affected in times of crisis and this crisis is no exception. We continue to hear reports of girls being married at a young age just to help the family survive. It’s essential that aid workers – including women humanitarian workers who are so critical to reaching women and girls – are protected, so they can continue carrying out lifesaving work.”
So far in Myanmar in 2022, seven humanitarian workers have died. “One million people are now displaced in Myanmar and over 13 million people in the country face hunger. It is crucial that aid workers are protected, and humanitarian organisations have unimpeded access to affected communities to carry out vital work,” said Nate Rabe, Country Director for CARE International in Myanmar.
Three aid workers have died in attacks in Ukraine this year – the first aid worker deaths in the country since 2014. “The security situation for aid workers has deteriorated sharply since the escalation in conflict in February this year. With a third of Ukrainians displaced from their homes and millions still inside the country, it’s more important than ever that the safety of humanitarian workers is preserved so they can carry out critical work,” said Richard Simpson, CARE Country Representative Ukraine.
“While the situation is incredibly difficult and precarious for so many in Ukraine, tragically, we are witnessing several donor governments re-directing overseas development assistance, especially to respond to the crisis in their own countries, which indirectly impacts funding for other humanitarian crises. As a result, humanitarian appeals of countries experiencing the worst hunger and famine-conditions, including Somalia, Mali, Niger, Afghanistan and South Sudan, are drastically under-funded,” said Delphine Pinault, Humanitarian Policy Advocacy Coordinator & UN Representative for CARE International. This year’s World Humanitarian Day theme #ItTakesAVillage is inspired by the saying ‘It takes a village to raise a child.’ Similarly, it takes a village to support a person in a humanitarian crisis – aid agencies, local volunteers and emergency services come together to provide urgent health care, shelter, food, protection, water, livelihoods and much more. Ms Pinault said, “And with the world facing an unprecedented hunger crisis, the international donor community plays a crucial role in ensuring funding decisions are strictly needs-based and not politically driven.”
Notes to the editor Analysis is based on the Humanitarian Outcomes’ Aid Worker Security database where incidents are defined as deliberate acts of violence affecting aid workers, such as killings, kidnappings, and attacks that result in serious injury: https://aidworkersecurity.org/incidents/. Numbers in the database for 2022 are provisional for the first six months of the year, with full official annual figures released at the end of calendar years. 2022 figures are available here: https://aidworkersecurity.org/
There have been 73 major attacks on aid workers so far in 2022 with 44 deaths this year (numbers accurate as of 1 August). The majority of deaths, 95%, involved national staff (42 out of 44 deaths were national staff. The two international staff were killed in South Sudan and Mali). South Sudan tops the fatalities list so far in 2022 with 11 deaths.
Funding of humanitarian response plans https://hum-insight.info/ About CARE: Founded in 1945, CARE is a leading humanitarian organisation fighting global poverty. CARE has more than seven decades of experience helping people prepare for disasters, providing lifesaving assistance when a crisis hits, and helping communities recover after the emergency has passed. CARE places special focus on women and children, who are often disproportionately affected by disasters.
To learn more, visit www.care-international.org For media enquiries contact: Suzy Sainovski Senior Humanitarian Communications Coordinator, CARE International
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Humanitarian organizations will be launching a photo exhibit in Siargao next week to raise awareness about the impact of Typhoon Odette (international name: Rai) and the concerted efforts of residents and various groups in rebuilding the affected communities.
The photo exhibition dubbed “The Last Mile,” which will open on August 15, 6 p.m. at the Siago Beach Resort in General Luna, Siargao Island, just a few days before the commemoration of the World Humanitarian Day (August 19).
The event is organized by non-government organizations and local government units working on the Typhoon Odette Response. The aim of the event is to urge the national government and other stakeholders to not forget those most vulnerable in times of disaster.
It will feature almost a hundred images captured by organizations who implemented the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (EU-ECHO)-supported emergency response for the survivors of Typhoon Odette: ACCORD, Action Against Hunger, Care Philippines, Humanity & Inclusion, Initiatives for Dialogue and Empowerment through Alternative Legal Services (IDEALS) Inc., National Rural Women’s Coalition, Oxfam Pilipinas, Plan International, Save the Children Philippines, and Sentro para sa Ikauunlad ng Katutubong Agham at Teknolohiya (SIKAT) Inc.
European Union (EU) Ambassador to the Philippines Luc Veron will be giving a message at the opening event of the exhibit, followed by presentations by the participating organizations.
“We want to showcase these powerful images to show just how devastating typhoons are to marginalized and remote communities in the Philippines. We also want to show what we can do together to save lives and reduce the risks and impacts of disasters,” said Oxfam Pilipinas Country Director Lot Felizco.
“With climate change, we expect more intense typhoons to hit the Philippines. We hope the exhibit will also give people hope that something can be done and is being done to strengthen our communities against future disasters and to help them recover from Typhoon Odette,” she added.
CARE Philippines Country Director David Gazashvili said the exhibit will also show the achievements and challenges that residents and humanitarian organizations face eight months after the devastation of Typhoon Odette.
“The exhibit shows how the quick and substantial funding from the EU-ECHO, the power of communities, women and men, boys and girls working together and collaborating with humanitarian actors have effectively addressed urgent humanitarian needs, especially of those who need the most assistance. But it also brings to the surface the challenges of prioritizing disaster-preparedness, risk reduction, and climate change mitigation and adaptation,” he added.
EU-ECHO’s funding of the Typhoon Odette emergency response has enabled the provision of emergency services to almost half a million individuals in Bohol, Cebu, Dinagat Islands, Southern Leyte, Negros Occidental, Palawan, and Surigao del Norte through the implementation of two consortia: one led by CARE, with ACCORD Inc., National Rural Women’s Coalition, Plan International, and Action Against Hunger; and another led by Oxfam Pilipinas and jointly implemented by Save the Children and Humanity & Inclusion (HI), together with local partners SIKAT Inc. and IDEALS Inc.
The joint efforts of the groups resulted in the distribution of food and livelihood assistance to 70,643 individuals; water, sanitation and hygiene packs for 75,394; protection assistance for 147,549; shelter provision for 72,902; health services for 68,317; and “education in emergency” assistance for 41,205.
Besides attending the photo exhibit, the EU ambassador will also be visiting Pilar in Siargao Island to observe EU-ECHO-funded activities such as the “Education in Emergency” component of the project in Caridad Elementary School. As part of the Typhoon Odette Emergency Response, the school’s teachers received training, supplies and a multi-purpose learning space where “return to learning” sessions are being held. The consortium also assisted in the construction of the multi-learning space and the repair of the damaged classrooms, which will also be turned over next week
For the coming months, the groups will continue to provide the same support for the most affected communities in Bohol, Cebu, Dinagat Islands, Southern Leyte, Negros Occidental, Palawan, and Surigao del Norte.
FOR MEDIA INQUIRIES AND COORDINATION:
Kristine Sabillo Guerrero | Senior Officer for Media and Digital Influencing, Oxfam Pilipinas
An analysis by humanitarian organisation CARE highlights, for the first time, a global link between gender inequality and food insecurity. Analysing data from 2021, the report shows that across 109 countries, as gender inequality goes up, food security goes down.
Christine Campeau, CARE’s Global Advocacy Director – Food Systems, said, “Between 2018 and 2021, the number of hungry women versus hungry men grew 8.4 times, with a staggering 150 million more women than men hungry in 2021. And the implications of the escalation of conflict in Ukraine will make the situation even worse for women, who play a crucial role across food systems and in feeding their families and communities. Gender equality is highly connected to food and nutrition security at a local, national, and global level. To put it simply, the more gender inequality there is in a country, the hungrier and more malnourished people are.”
Of the four major global datasets on gender, including the World Bank’s Gender Data Portal, the only sex disaggregated food indicators reinforce women’s role solely for their importance in reproduction: measuring anemia in women of childbearing age and counting stunting for children. Most food security datasets are strangely silent on gender. And, despite women being responsible for 90% of preparing and buying food, they are eating last and least.
Even when both men and women are technically food insecure, women often bear bigger burdens. For example, in Somalia, while men report eating smaller meals, women report skipping meals altogether.
Aisha, who lives in a village in eastern Somalia said, “I don’t remember how old I really am, the drought has affected me mentally and physically so much that I can’t remember. Most days we don’t get anything to eat, other days we eat one meal.”
In the World Bank Gender Data Portal on food and women, the only sex disaggregated food data is related to the number of women who believe, or do not believe, that a husband is justified in beating his wife when she burns the food.
Ms Campeau said, “As women keep feeding the world, we must give them the right space in our data collection methods and analysis to make the gaps they encounter visible and work with women themselves to find solutions to those gaps. Global datasets should be publishing sex disaggregated data on food—whether the focus is on gender or on food. It is time to update our global understanding of food security and gender inequality, and, local actors, including women’s organisations in crisis-affected communities, need to get the flexible funding and support desperately needed to protect women and girls from hunger-associated gender-based-violence and protection risks.”
About CARE: Founded in 1945, CARE is a leading humanitarian organisation fighting global poverty. CARE has more than seven decades of experience helping people prepare for disasters, providing lifesaving assistance when a crisis hits, and helping communities recover after the emergency has passed. CARE places special focus on women and children, who are often disproportionately affected by disasters. To learn more, visit www.care-international.org
For media enquiries contact:
Suzy Sainovski Senior Humanitarian Communications Coordinator, CARE International Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Skype: suzy.sainovski
Collaborating with 30 barangay local units to create vaccine awareness for ~260,000 people
Manila, Philippines (January 19, 2022)— Cargill and CARE Philippines, have collaborated with non-government organizations and business partners, to boost the vaccination rates in select areas of Bulacan Province, Batangas and South Cotabato by the end of 2021 through the COVID-19 Risk Communication and Community Engagement (RCCE) and Vaccination Roll-Out project. This vaccine advocacy project is expected to reach about 260,000 people.
More than a year after the Philippines launched its efforts for mass vaccination against COVID-19, there is still much work to be done to achieve population protection. The National Task Force against COVID-19 released statistics showcasing a slowed down rate of administering shots last October with only 375,773 compared to 523,018 of August 2021.
A possible reason could still be the existing hesitancies from Filipinos about vaccination, with only 61% of the population being willing to be vaccinated based from a survey released by the Octa Research group last October 22.
The Social Weather Stations conducted a survey to find out what the possible reasons are why Filipinos are unwilling despite being offered a free vaccination. The fear of possible side effects ranks as number one in the list followed by old age, being diagnosed with comorbidities and belief in reports of fatality.
“In Cargill, putting people first has always been a part of our values. And this value of caring for people goes beyond our employees and extends to those in the communities where we live and work. Through the RCCE and Vaccination Roll-Out Project, we aim to tip the scale in favor of population protection from COVID, thus allowing ourselves and our communities to bounce back from this pandemic,” said Christopher Ilagan, Cargill Philippines’ Corporate Affairs Director.
The RCCE and Vaccination Roll-Out Project, which is being implemented in Malolos City, Baliwag and Pulilan in Bulacan Province, Sto. Tomas City in Batangas, and General Santos City in South Cotabato, aims to support 30 barangay local government units (BLGUs) to increase their capacities in implementing COVID-19 policies and help encourage their residents to get vaccinated. More than 2,450 barangay officials, health workers and members of the peacekeeping team have already been trained by medical professionals to further spread information and provide communication about the risks of COVID-19 and vaccination benefits.
Support was also given to BLGUs with low vaccination rates by providing free transportation for vaccination to residents – especially women, PWDs and the elderly – from far-flung areas of the covered locations. Incentives were also given, like rice, food and hygiene kits, to encourage other community members to participate.
In alignment with the proclamation that 30 November – 01 December and 17-19 December 2021 as National Vaccination Days, the RCCE Project in Batangas and Bulacan provided free rides to 2,420 individuals from far flung barangays to the vaccination sites, free snacks and sanitary kits and distribution of information, education and campaign materials. The Community Health Educators (CHEs) hired and trained by the project also provided additional health manpower during the vaccination events at the selected barangays. Additionally, about 4,000 community members received rice and hygiene kits incentives from the project. Among these community members whom the project assisted to be vaccinated, more 700 of them confessed that previously, they are hesitant to take the shot but through the community education conducted by the project, they were encouraged to get vaccinated.
Romy M. Pagaduan, the chairperson of Brgy. Ligaya, General Santos City said that the project has made it easier for them to convince their residents to get vaccinated. He shared that his barangay is among those which have low vaccination rates due to people being less-informed, if not misinformed, about COVID-19 and the vaccines. “We now have the right answers to their questions especially those that were drawn from information they got from social media and rumors spread in the barangay”, he said.
The project is led by CARE Philippines and being implemented with Mindanao Coalition of Development NGO Networks (MINCODE) and Sarangani Province Empowerment for Community Transformation Forum (Spectrum) in General Santos City, Southern Tagalog People’s Resource Center (STPRC) in Batangas and CARE Philippines in Bulacan with participation from Cargill employees across all these areas.
Early Warning Systems (EWS) equipment were officially turned over to the community members and barangay officials of Natonin and Barlig, Mt. Province last September 8 and 9, 2021.
EWS equipment include basic emergency and first aid equipment such as generators, spine boards with strap, two-way radios, amplifiers, public awareness devices, bells, rope, sets of BP apparatus, first aid kits, among others. All of which were identified by community members who were actively engaged in community risk assessments and contingency planning workshops conducted as part of the INCREASE: Increasing the Resilience to Natural Hazards project. Along with the equipment, household level flyers about the specific hazards in their community and the evacuation plan, and EWS signage containing warning signals and actions for community members were also handed over during the turn over ceremony.
In Barlig, barangay officials and representatives from INCREASE covered barangays, Kaleo, Chupac, Lunas, and Ogo-og, and Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representative were present during the turn-over ceremony. Female household heads who were the main participants of the Resilient Livelihood activities of INCREASE, also attended the ceremony and offered a song of appreciation to CARE Philippines and Cordillera Disaster Response and Development Services representatives. In Natonin, the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management (DRRM) Officer along with Barangay Balangao and Alonugan officials and female household heads received the equipment and IEC materials.
EWS is an adaptive measure for climate change, using integrated communication systems to help communities prepare for hazardous climate-related events. This means that through EWS, community members receive relevant and timely information in a systematic way prior to a disaster in order to make informed decisions and take action. A successful EWS can save lives and livelihood. To be effective, EWS needs to actively involve the communities at risk, facilitate public education and awareness of risks, effectively disseminate messages and warnings and ensure there is constant state of preparedness.
During INCREASE workshops, risk information and the necessary equipment to relay warning signals were identified. This information was identified by the community members and barangay officials, and was documented and translated into IEC materials to make sure that warnings are understandable by all members of the community.
The need for EWS Equipment
“When Typhoon Rosita hit our area, we thought it was the end. The experience awakened our community. We exhausted every means to prepare for the next disaster. Thanks to INCREASE Project, we were able to identify early warning devices needed in our area to better respond to natural hazards,” shared Brgy. Balangao Chairperson Conrado Limangan, upon receiving the EWS equipment.
Recalling the worst typhoon in their memory, community members mentioned that since they had no equipment back then, members of the Barangay DRRM Council would only be shouting to instruct community members to evacuate their homes. Power and communication lines were interrupted then, hence they identified a generator as one of the main EWS equipment needed in their area. Natonin Municipal DRRM Officer Soledad Nasudman recognizes this and shared, “Thank you for bringing the project nearer to us. Even if the BDRRMC officials are capacitated, if equipment is not available, response and preparedness would not be as effective.”
Natonin and Barlig are both prone to typhoons and landslides. During their community risk assessments and contingency planning workshops, community members shared that they experience at least 3 to 4 typhoons in a year. One barangay was also named as the “Home of Rain” since rain is nonstop in the area for almost the whole year. While community members recognize the need for EWS equipment and IEC materials, they also acknowledge that they need to find a funding source for the purchase and installment of EWS. Barangay Chupac Chairperson, Benedicto Nabunat shared, “We express our deepest appreciation to the INCREASE team for the equipment because we know that our barangay’s budget can’t afford to provide these. We are thankful because it’s rare that a project reaches an isolated area like ours.” In addition to these equipment, risk maps plotting the community facilities, houses, forests, and farmlands, their level of susceptibility to several hazards that can affect them will be put up. To test the early actions and preparedness capacities of the officials and community members, a drill will also be conducted as part of the INCREASE Project.
INCREASE aims to increase the resilience of 45,000 women and men small-scale farmers and fishers, including 720 extreme poor female-headed households, to natural hazards and the effects of climate change. It is present in 4 provinces, 8 municipalities, and 33 barangays. CARE Philippines and CorDis RDS lead its implementation in Mt. Province.
Founded in 1945, CARE (Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere) is a leading global humanitarian and international development organization dedicated to defending dignity and eradicating poverty. CARE enables lasting change by strengthening the capacity of communities and households through social, political and economic opportunities, delivering relief in emergencies, influencing policy decisions, and addressing discrimination. For 75 years, CARE has led the way to a better life for the world’s most vulnerable people across 100 countries and 70 million people, each year.